The Atlanta Hawks were quiet on the eve of the official start of free agency in the NBA. Perhaps it was that relative lack of activity that allowed Hawks star Trae Young to enjoy the frenetic pace the legal tampering period always brings.
During an Instagram Live stream, Young took note of several signings around the Association and gave his opinions. Young had a stronger reaction to the Los Angeles Lakers’ moves as they poached Gabe Vincent from the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat among other transactions.
Vincent, 27, signed a three-year, $33 million contract after averaging 12.7 points, 3.5 assists, and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 37.8% from beyond the arc during the playoffs.
“Boy got paid,” Young exclaimed after confirming Vincent’s deal. “Congrats, Gabe!”
Heading into his fifth NBA season, Vincent averages 7.7 points and shoots 33.9% from three in his career, highlighting just how much risk the Lakers are taking by giving him this substantial pay raise – it is below the non-taxpayer mid-level exception.
It may be somewhat notable that the Lakers brought in a point guard since there were rumors that Young could look to force a trade and that the Lakers had discussed what a package to acquire him might look like. Those rumors were put to bed by subsequent ones and these signings by L.A. could be the final sign that it simply isn’t happening.
Young seemed less impressed by the Toronto Raptors retaining center Jakob Poeltl who signed a four-year, $80 million contract to remain with Toronto. The Raptors, who drafted Poeltl No. 9 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, traded him to the San Antonio Spurs in 2018 for Kawhi Leonard in a move that led to the franchise’s first NBA title.
They re-acquired him at the trade deadline in February and he went on to average 13.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals per game.
“Alright,” Young replied flatly when told of Poeltl’s signing.
Trae Young weighs in on Ja Morant, Zion Williamson drama
“I know them personally, so I really hope they get out of this situation and pull out on the right side because they’re so talented, they’re so good,” Young said. “You need guys like Ja and Zion, to be in the league because they’re both really good dudes, and I’m pulling for both of them, and I think they will pull out on the right side.”
Young noted that the top stars in the game today are aging out and players such as Morant, Williamson, and himself are key for the league.
Morant is slated to miss the first 25 games of the 2023-24 regular season for “conduct detrimental to the league” after repeatedly running afoul of the league’s policy on and off of social media.
Williamson is dealing with a more personal matter but one that has been handled very publicly.
The Hawks have been fortunate to this point in that their drama has been in the rumor mill because, as Morant’s situation has highlighted, off-the-court drama can take you off the court.